Sunday, May 20, 2018

My Ex-Life by Stephen McCauley

David Hedges’s life is coming apart at the seams. His job helping San Francisco rich kids get into the colleges of their (parents’) choice is exasperating; his younger boyfriend has left him; and the beloved carriage house he rents is being sold. His solace is a Thai takeout joint that delivers 24/7.

The last person he expects to hear from is Julie Fiske. It’s been decades since they’ve spoken, and he’s relieved to hear she’s recovered from her brief, misguided first marriage. To him.

Julie definitely doesn’t have a problem with marijuana (she’s given it up completely, so it doesn’t matter if she gets stoned almost daily) and the Airbnb she’s running out of her seaside house north of Boston is neither shabby nor illegal. And she has two whole months to come up with the money to buy said house from her second husband before their divorce is finalized. She’d just like David’s help organizing college plans for her 17-year-old daughter.

That would be Mandy. To quote Barry Manilow, Oh Mandy. While she knows she’s smarter than most of the kids in her school, she can’t figure out why she’s making so many incredibly dumb and increasingly dangerous choices.

When David flies east, they find themselves living under the same roof (one David needs to repair). David and Julie pick up exactly where they left off thirty years ago―they’re still best friends who can finish each other’s sentences. But there’s one broken bit between them that no amount of home renovations will fix.

In prose filled with hilarious and heartbreakingly accurate one-liners, Stephen McCauley has written a novel that examines how we define home, family, and love. Be prepared to laugh, shed a few tears, and have thoughts of your own ex-life triggered. (Throw pillows optional.)

My Thoughts 
Where do I begin...What do I talk about...What do I keep a secret until you read the book for yourselves, which I HIGHLY recommend by the way.
Stephen has such a great writing style - everything flows, it makes sense and it is timely.
He approaches many topics from a broken marriage where one gets re-married and the other decides to come out as gay, a teenager who is lost and finds herself in a very dangerous situation, some very unique friendships, see why I can't give away all the details?  
The story begins by Julie contacting her ex-husband David about helping her daughter find colleges to apply to and navigate the process and the daughter invites him to come visit for a bit and it turns into weeks.  Julie is trying to figure out how to keep her soon to be ex-husband from selling her home (and airb&b) out from under her.
Ultimately, will David find the new direction he is looking for in life?  Will Julie figure out how to save the current life she has and the house she has grown attached to?  Will Mandy find her way out of the darkness before it's too late and she is lost forever?
Dive into this book today, you won't be disappointed.


Watermelon-Tequila Cocktails
Drink Selection
 I'm going to sweeten it a little (with a kick) and pair this read with a Watermelon -  Tequila cocktail!  Can you have just one?


Rating 
Amazing read from beginning to end, 5 wine glasses all the way.


Stephen McCauley

About the Author 
I grew up outside of Boston and was more or less educated in public schools. I went to the University of Vermont as an undergraduate and studied for a year in France at the University of Nice.
Upon graduation, I worked at hotels, kindergartens (see The Object of My Affection), ice cream stands, and health food stores. I taught yoga in a church basement and set up a house cleaning service. For many years, I worked as a travel agent (see The Easy Way Out) and was able to travel somewhat extensively and inexpensively.
Links to visit for Stephen: